KINGS BURN THROUGH BEAN TOWN

Your Los Angeles Kings did us proud today, beating the Boston Bruins 3-2 in the two teams’ second meeting in the shootout in as many weeks.

The game was a doozy, with both clubs pulling and gnawing and giving and pushing, basically from start to finish. While the Bruins’ had the clear edge in sustained attack time, the game featured an odd but highly entertaining mixture of tight, collapsing defense and speedy north-south hockey.

Much like their most recent win against Columbus, the Kings had to kill two penalties early in the 1st period. They managed to weather the storm, or rather, the breeze of the Bruins’ powerplay, and shortly after were rewarded with their own, which they took advantage of immediately. Kopitar, parked in his favorite stomping grounds on the high half-way, fired a pass onto Dustin Brown’s stick, who redirected the puck past Thomas from between the dots. The Kings looked to be in good shape heading into the 2nd period, despite consistent pressure from the Bruins and the Kings’ good fortune of Lucic playing like so many clovers crushed under foot, including one half empty net that he missed just prior to Browns’ goal. Jim Fox claims that Quick made the save, but I saw and heard pipe.

The tides were to turn for a time however, as the game changed when Mark Stuart leveled a distracted Kopitar. The hit was the perfect visage of clean, but Wayne Simmonds, doing right by his big Slovenian comrade, immediately got in the face of Stuart. The two had a short tussle, with Simmonds’ lander the finer (and meaner) blows. We all knew that Wayne was going to get an extra penalty. This situation was exactly what the NHL, GM’s, writers, bloggers and everyone has talked about and against lately, including our own Terry Murray, in which a fight is started because of a clean hit. Kopitar had his head down. He was injured. Stuart stayed on his feet, waited for Kopitar to touch the puck, and kept his elbow tightly tucked against his waist. So fine, give the Night Train the extra 2 for being so violently upset at the train that just ran over his star player. But really, was the instigator warranted here? He had a close quarters chatwith Stuart, and then the two mutually decided to throw down. In fact, they dropped the gloves at the exact same time. What’s more, Simmonds didn’t go out of position to confront Stuart, he was already standing right next to him when the hit occurred. So screw it, I even begrudge the ref the instigator. Forget the extra penalty for wearing a visor. Icing on a nasty cake.

Regardless, the Kings were forced to kill a four minute powerplay… kind of. Just 30 seconds into the kill, defensive aggressor and penalty neutralizer extraordinaire, Brad Richardson, gave Thomas’ glove a little tippy-tap as he skated by him after the goalie had gloved the puck. Now the hot headed Thomas didn’t particularly care for that, so he decided punching Richardson in the face with his stick hand was a good idea.

The Kings had several good chances on the 4-on-4 but came up empty. They marvelously killed the rest of Simmonds’ second penalty. It seemed like the craziness was over, but then with just 29 damn seconds to go of this maddening special teams’ play, Scuderi threw a cross check that got him a seat next to Simmonds and the Kings a 2-man disadvantage. Don’t worry, don’t worry, they killed it.

But they didn’t kill the Bruins’ surging momentum. With just under 5 minutes to play in the period (still the 2nd… will this game ever end?), Brandon Segal shot the puck over the boards. The penalty kill started well enough, Handzus won a clean face-off to Drew Doughty, who had room to clear, or he thought he did. He didn’t notice the spine of a linesman was in his way. Savard gathered the puck and quickly fed Marco Sturm, who waited, and waited and waited, as everyone else on both teams flew by him, and finally fired a wrist shot over Quick’s right pad to tie the game.

But no, the penalties don’t end there. After a Kings’ powerplay faded away, Scott Parse tripped Savard with just 21 seconds to go in the period.

The Bruins’ scored on the remaining part of Parse’s penalty to start the third period. David Krejci rushed the puck over the blueline and fed a crashing Recchi, who tipped the puck past a sliding Quick. Everyone looked stupid on the play. Handzus was beaten by Krejci wide, Scuderi left the front of the net to play Krejci, Doughty was slow coming off the bench and neither he or a nearby Frolov noticed Recchi barreling towards the goaltender. Bruins lead.

“Damn,” I thought to myself, “We had this one.” I cursed Simmonds’ momentarily, who was still wasting away in the sin bin, but then I remembered something. This Kings’ team is different. This is new.

This is a team that can not play their best, or have a team (albeit a pretty bad one at the moment), fire everything they have at them, and still pull through.

Who better than turn it into high gear, than Anze Kopitar, who with his 23rd goal of the season has once again broken the 1 + point-per-game barrier. It was a classic. Once again in his prized haunt, Kopitar fired a dirty wrist shot by Thomas’ ear, which is probably still ringing.

Overtime it is.

The Bruins’ dominated the 4-on-4 action, but neither team can break the tie.

Overtime it was.

Chara tried to kick things off, but after a delay that saw the Zamboni come out for a second pass around Thomas’ net, the long-necked beast forgot what he wanted to do with his attempt. Chara tried a slapshot only feet in front of Quick, but whiffed. Haha.

Kopitar then made Thomas look the fool. Here it is in another language.

I repeat. Ha. Ha.

Wheeler… nothing.

Brown, nothing.

Ryder, bastard wrist shot.

Handzus, nothing.

Savard spun Quick around full circle before scoring.

Smyth did not only score on the goaltender, but scored with the goaltender, scaring Thomas fully into his net, along with the puck.

Bergeon, Moller, Recchi, yawn.

Stoll comes up with a mean wrister that rings Thomas’ good ear.

Kings win. Party time. Excellent.

Couples random notes, or things Scribe thinks are called tidbits:

Blake Wheeler falls down a lot.

Peter Harrold wasn’t nearly as sharp as he has been.

Doughty seemed asleep for half the game.

Kopitar is back.

Boston fans behind Claude Julien need to take their ridiculous costumes off and hang themselves.

Manchester Monarch fan behind Terry Murray needs to put away her phone… before she eats it.

I am more convinced than ever that Jonathan Quick will supplant Tim Thomas in goal for the U.S. Olympic team (weigh in on that here if you haven’t already voted).

Satan’s face is horrifying. Kill it.

Jones is still terrible.

One linesman goes down with a puck to the spine. Another busts his knee up. Karma.

GO KINGS GO



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